Apple today released a SIM-free GSM version of its popular iPhone 5s in the United States, allowing frequent travelers (or anyone else, for that matter) to purchase a no-obligation high-end smartphone.This new iPhone model is GSM-only and requires the customer to supply his or her own SIM card, either from T-Mobile or AT&T in the United States (no word on whether other carriers’ SIM cards are also supported).
Apple specifically states, “If you buy iPhone for T-Mobile, it will arrive with a nano-SIM card already installed that you can activate by visiting an Apple Retail Store or a T-Mobile store or by calling T-Mobile.”
However, “If you buy a SIM-free iPhone, you will need to purchase a GSM-compatible nano-SIM card separately,” the company notes. “In the United States, you can purchase such a SIM from AT&T or T-Mobile.”
Apple clarifies that international travelers can use any nano-SIM card from a local GSM carrier.
The phone is sold at “unlocked” prices, depending on the storage capacity ordered by the customer. As such, a 16GB model goes for $649 (€479), a 32GB model for $749 (€553), and a 64GB model for $849 (€627).
This particular model of the unlocked iPhone 5s is labeled “A1533 (GSM).” Apple offers details on LTE support at www.apple.com/iphone/LTE.
At the company’s September 10 event scheduled for the unveiling of the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said “iPhone 5s is the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, delivering desktop class architecture in the palm of your hand.”
“iPhone 5s sets a new standard for smartphones, packed into its beautiful and refined design are breakthrough features that really matter to people, like Touch ID, a simple and secure way to unlock your phone with just a touch of your finger,” added Schiller.
Americans can visit Apple’s online store immediately and order an unlocked, SIM-free iPhone 5s to have it delivered in 1-2 weeks. Apple has yet to stock up its retail stores with SIM-free iPhone 5s devices, but it does have unlocked iPhone 5c models on sale.